Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground
Mass by candlelight just before dawn.
“THE RORATE MASS”A beautiful custom arose in Germany and Eastern Europe of saying an Advent Votive Mass of our Lady in the darkness just before dawn, entirely by candlelight. As well as being very ancient and very suitable to the few days before Christmass, it also comes round about the time (in the Northern hemisphere) of our shortest day. It thus has pastoral potential just when the human frame and psyche need to be cheered up by the prospect of lengthening days and the return of Light.
Mass goers went without their missals, were caught up in what they knew was happening. A lesson here.
(Oh. “Rorate coeli” are the first words of the post-introductory mass. “Rain down” is mine.)